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Home => Cleaning => Kitchen => Cleaning a Burnt Stainless Steel Pan
Related Articles: Tip for Cleaning Stainless Steel | Pot and Pan Cleaner

Cleaning a Burnt Stainless Steel Pan
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Q: I have a good quality stainless steel pan I forgot on the burner with macaroni in it. It burnt to black crust. I got all the crust residue out, but the black remains in curled shape of the macaroni. I have tried baking soda, vinegar and black grate cleaner for gas ranges. It's too good of quality to throw away if I can fix it. Any suggestion?

Tip #1: The new "Power Dissolver" by Dawn works quite well.

Tip #2: Try Barkeeper's Friend. It works very well on stainless steel. Sprinkle the powder on a wet scrubbing pad, let it sit for a bit and then scrub off. The cleanser also works well on porcelain sinks and tile countertops.

Tip #3: Try using a dryer sheet with some water in the pan. That has been very successful for me.

Tip #4: Spray the dry pan with the new Dawn Power cleaner. Put the pan in a plastic bag and seal with twist tie. Let sit overnight. Most of the burned on part will rinse off, then use SOS or scrubby to finish the job.

Tip #5: Try mixing cream of tartar, baking soda and vinegar and then adding just enough water to cover the mess and boiling it? This is what I did--I still had to use the brillo pad a little bit.

Tip #6: The girls on "How Clean is Your House" use cola, simmered in the pan for about 5 minutes. You may have to do it again, but it sure did the job!...Joyce

Tip #7: My husband regularly burns a half-inch of rice in my best pans. I no longer freak. Scrape out whatever residue wants to come out (easily), then cover all the burnt area with ammonia. Put the lid on the pan. Leave it for 24 hours. This removes everything. Once or twice a really thick layer required a second treatment. Don't try to scrub out the pan at all. DO let the pan cool off before you pour the ammonia in!

Tip #8: Put the pan in a garbage bag with 1 cup of ammonia. Tie bag shut, place bag in a place where it wont be disturbed for about 1 week. Untie bag and take out pan. Wash pan. If it is still burnt repeat this process. Or cut 1 lemon in half. Rub the lemon on the burnt marks, take Kosher salt and pour over the pan and rub briskly with the lemon. This is also the best way to clean copper pans, if any one was wondering. Like Rival pans with the copper on bottom, rub salt and lemon on the copper all the oxidation with come off. Pan will look new again.

Tip #9: Barkeeper's Friend. It works very well on stainless steel. Sprinkle the powder on a wet scrubbing pad, let it sit for a bit and then scrub off. The cleanser also works well on porcelain sinks and tile countertops. Barkeepers Secret works great!!! I had a badly burnt pot and with alot of elbow greese and barkeepers secret and a few brillo pads, it took it all out.

Tip #10: Make a paste of salt and white vinegar and go at it. It may take a little time but we use it in restaurants on the stainless steel and they look new.

Tip #11: You should try to cut up an onion and water and put it on the bottom and then you put it on the burner until it boils and then you take it off and scrub. Works great!

Tip #12: I tried a few of the above postings and they took some of the burnt macaroni off my pan. I thought an old fashion chore girl might work but since I didn't have one I remembered something about aluminium foil. I sprinkled the pan with ajax cleanser and rubbed it with a wadded up piece of foil and the pan came clean in minutes.

Tip #13: I can't remember where I read this years ago, but it REALLY works. Put Cascade granules in the pan, maybe a quarter cup, and put a few inches of water in with it, and then bring to a boil, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Wash it off with a some sort of scrubbie, you hardly have to scrub though, and you have a brand new pan! Also, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser would probably take off any leftover spots.

Tip #14: You may have a nicer stainless steel pan and are not able to use some of the stronger chemicals or more abrasive scouring pads. If you want to try a natural remedy, trying squeezing a lemon into some water and let the mixture boil. You may even try throwing some slices in the water and rub them along the bottom of the pan. This removes the yellow film burned olive oil can leave fairly easily. Just remember to keep watch over the pan as you boil. If you have really burned the pan (dark spots), this may take repeating or turning to a chemical like Barkeeper's Friend. Good luck.

Tip #15: Keep using your pan even if you have these marks. Watch that food does not stick to the burned areas, making bigger burned areas. Soak the pan after every use, scrub hard with a green scratchy pad, Ajax, a metal spatula, whatever budges a few more flakes off. In a few weeks your pan will be okay again. I have stainless steel pots that are 25 years old and every time we severely burn one, I think 'Oh no, it's ruined'. Then somebody washes it as good as they can, we use it a few times, and next thing I know the pot is perfectly clean. It's weird.

Tip #16: I have successfully removed burnt food from pans by pouring tomatoes into the pan and letting it set overnight. The acid in the tomatoes can sometimes loosen the burnt part. Good luck!


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